Black Friday shoppers warned scammers are targeting air fryers

Air fryer - Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins/Getty Images
Air fryer - Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins/Getty Images

Black Friday shoppers have been warned that air fryers have become a new favourite for online scammers.

NatWest bank said that con artists are targeting the rising popularity of energy saving goods such as air fryers, electric blankets and personal heaters.

It estimates that about £10 million will be stolen by fraudsters between Black Friday and Christmas through these "purchase scams".

NatWest said: “Criminals are taking advantage of the cost of living crisis by advertising goods which don’t exist – customers trying to reduce their energy expenditure could find themselves being specifically targeted.”

Purchase scams usually involve a criminal trying to sell goods online at a heavily reduced price or through a time-sensitive deal that adds pressure to the customer to buy immediately without thinking.

Problem 'will be significant'

These types of scams are most common on sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, Twitter and eBay.

The bank predicted the scale of the problem and the number of people who will be targeted this year “will be significant” with the majority of scams likely to be under £1,000.

The age group most likely to have their money stolen through scams like this are 25 to 35-year-olds closely followed by 18 to 25-year-olds.

Stuart Skinner, fraud expert at NatWest, said: “Black Friday is a great time of year to pick up a bargain but unfortunately it is also exploited by criminals.

“If you’re being sold something at a knock-down price from a private seller on social media or a website you’re not familiar with, don’t do it.

“Your goods won’t turn up and you’ll be left out of pocket. If it’s an unusually good bargain for an item you know is worth a lot more, chances are it’s a scam.”

Scams can look authentic

Alongside the warning NatWest shared tips on how people can avoid falling victim to a purchase scam when shopping this year.

It said criminals “spend hours researching you for their scams” in the hope that someone will let their guard down “for just one moment” so they are usually well designed and will look authentic.

The bank advised being careful about purchasing from a website never used before and to make sure it offers a secure purchase method by a reputable payment company.